By Evan Ross
If you’re like me you’re about 5 foot 10, love Sour Patch kids, and absolutely cannot concentrate when it comes time to study. This is the worst time of year for students; everybody else is preparing for the holidays while we prepare for the seasonal joy that is exams. I myself have spent the past few days freshening up on European politics, so join me on my journey for songs that will prevent me from smashing my head against the wall while I hit the books.
1) “I Love NYE” – Badly Drawn Boy
I find it much easier to study with music that doesn’t have lyrics, and this track is an instrumental gem off the (excellent) movie soundtrack for About A Boy. A sweet, light piece of music, this is the perfect song to trick you into thinking what you’re about to do is enjoyable. It’s ideal for preparing your soon-to-be disorganized study area, and for convincing yourself that you care about the life of Charles de Gaulle
2) “Eg Anda” – Sigur Ros
If you want music that’s calming and surreal, look no further than Sigur Ros. This songs takes a while to get going, but once it does you’ll feel like you’re in a fairy tale dream world (if fairy tales took place in Robarts Library). It’s perfect for calming pre-exam jitters, when you realize you weren’t paying attention in class nearly as well as you thought.
3) “Michicant” – Bon Iver
Staying calm during the exam period is absolutely essential, and to stay calm you NEED Bon Iver. This song sounds like some sort of lullaby and every time I put it on I imagine myself in front of a fireplace in a cabin somewhere (snuggled with the hipster hunk of my choosing). This song is perfect for getting you into the zone of hardcore memory retention. Once you realize you haven’t actually done any readings this semester and have to do all of them within a 12 hour period, this song might cool you down.
4) “With Your Friends (Long Drive)” – Skrillex Read more…
The main characters in
Bonnie Bears Bon Iver’s new video “Beth/Rest” kind of remind me of those cheesy, other-world inspired figurines you’d find sitting on a senior citizen’s fireplace beside fine china and doilies.
In the video, a forest-dwelling couple’s love literally shines as they go tromp through the woods. They float around a hot air balloon and collect eggs, before returning to their treehouse to cuddle in Snuggies. Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon roams among the trees, playing a colourful keyboard.
The whole video is awesomely ’80s and kind of looks like it was inspired by the director of Touched By and Angel (it was actually directed by Dan Huiting and Vernon himself). The song is from his album sophomore album Bon Iver, Bon Iver, which came out nearly a year and a half ago.
Watch it here:
There you go again X-Factor, making me look like a crazy person sitting in an office full of guys, trying to block the tears welling up in my eyes. Contestant Bella Ferraro auditioned for Australia’s The X-Factor with an emotional performance of “Skinny Love” by Birdy, originally by Bon Iver.
Bella left high school to pursue music. She nervously auditioned for the judges on her eighteenth birthday.
There are several reasons why her performance is so touching. First, she doesn’t realize how damn talented she is. Hands shaking at times, Ferraro seemed genuinely shocked when the audience applauded her within five seconds of starting. Her supportive mom looked on from the audience, tearfully proud. All the judges, including hard-to-please Mel B, gave the contestant a deserved standing ovation.
Yesterday the UK edition of The X-Factor made me angry when I saw Pink cover artist Zoe Alexander storm off the stage upon receiving constructive criticism. But you’ve reclaimed my love, X-Factor, with Bella Ferraro.
Watch it here:
Victoria Abraham defines one up and coming artist each week so you can impress your friends with your musical brilliance. This week, she tackles Yuna, a songstress from Malaysia.
Yuna is already a successful singer in Malaysia, but she only recently began making inroads into the North American and European music scenes. Judging by a badass performance at the Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn, her Pharrell-produced single “Live Your Life,” and scheduled performances at Lollapalooza in August, Yuna is set to conquer North America.
Origins: Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia
Full name: Yunalis Zarai
Known for: Yuna’s dazzling live performances and beautiful headscarves set her apart.
Used in a sentence: “Although Yuna describes her music as a mix between Mary Poppins and Coldplay, her sound has an unmistakably soulful quality that makes you want to sip a latte at the corner coffee shop.”
File next to: Bon Iver, Corinne Bailey Rae
Download now: “Live Your Life”
With mashups becoming increasingly easier for the average music lover to create at home, authentic collaborations between artists are becoming more exciting. But alas, some of my fave potential collaborations are but a distant dream. So, if anyone out there can hook up the following artists together and convince them to make sweet musical love, I (not to mention my my ears) will be forever grateful. Without further ado, here are the top five unlikely musical collaborations we’d love to hear.
1) Selena Gomez / Azealia Banks
I’m convinced Selena Gomez has a hip-hop freak hiding underneath her pretty persona. With boyfriend Jusin Beiber’s recent foray into the R&B/hip-hop scene, Gomez could learn a thing or two from up and coming female rapper Azealia Banks. Both women are chameleons, with Banks sampling pretty much every genre possible in her music and Gomez pulling off every look possible in her “Love You Like a Love Song” video. Banks and Gomez could have a sassy hit together.
2) Taylor Swift / Florence and the Machine
Okay, Florence Welch is on a level of her own, creatively and vocally, but if any pop star can come close to keeping up with Welch’s powerful pipes, it’s T-Swizzle. The girl has proved herself, winning six Grammies in her career, and actually has instrumental talent, unlike many of her counterparts in the pop and country scene. Swift could back Flo with a piano or guitar and lend her sweet voice. The two women could create something magical. No really.
3) One Direction / The Hives Read more…
Kanye West surely likes to give his viewers a seizure with his usage of strobe lights.
From “All of the Lights” to “N****s in Paris”, we can all get another shot of headache-inducing effects from the rapper’s new music video “Lost in the World.”
The song, which features Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, is taken from West’s fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Teaming up with filmmaker Ruth Hogben, the video has the rapper standing on a mirrored platform while fog and interpretative dancers light up the screen.
Expecting a rough week? Here’s your weekly dose of music to help you survive. Consider it your weekly prescription.
Hey Ocean! – Big Blue Wave
Hey Ocean! has a lovely fun-in-the-sun vibe, so listening to them will probably bring back your fave summer memories. “Big Blue Wave” is a charming, upbeat tune with lead singer Ashley Ball’s gentle vocals soaring above rhythmic guitars.
Gossip – Perfect World
After three long years, Gossip is returning with their new album, “A Joyful Noise,” on May 22. I don’t know about you, but I was going through some serious Beth Ditto withdrawal. Perfect World is the first single off the album and it sounds like Ditto’s voice has just gotten stronger in the past few years.
Bon Iver – Coming Down
Bon Iver performed a cover of Anais Mitchell’s “Coming Down,” about which lead singer Justin Vernon says, “it takes you to a very, very far away place.” Featuring heartfelt vocals and beautiful harmonies, Bon Iver will make your heart melt with this cover.
Lovedrug – Wildblood
Ladies, pay attention! If you’re looking for an alternative band to crush on, google Lovedrug. Not only are the boys super suave in their skinny jeans and leather jackets, they have some serious talent. “WildBlood” is the title track off their fourth album, and while the band changed up their sound over the past few years moving to a more pop-rock sound, “Wildblood” is one of those songs you can listen to in bed and appreciate.
Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine
The Arctic Monkeys have come a long way from their I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor days. Apparently the band took a queu from Queens of the Stone Age. Their new single ”R U Mine” has some serious fuzz guitar going on and it works. I’m always one to embrace a band’s changing style and the Arctic Monkeys are definitely sounding more grown up.
Hot Chip – Flutes
Electro-indie band Hot Chip are dropping their new album, In Our Heads, on June 11. The First single is called “Flutes” and the music video will have your head spinning…literally. It’s all filmed inside their production studio and is a seven-minute merry-go-round. If you like Hot Chip’s eclectic sound, the single is worth checking out and I dare you to watch the whole video without turning away to regain your balance.
Bon Iver, aka the love of my life, released his official video for “Towers” and it’s haunting! The video features a lonely old man walking slowly through an eerie forest to the shoreline. The “tower builder” gets in his rowboat, then something devastating happens.
The scenery in the video is beautiful. It was shot on Native American land in Washington state. It’s hard to tell exactly what the message is, but it explores our relationship with nature and is a testament to North American land preservation.
The song will be released as a single in March.
Bonnie Bear Bon Iver, who is fresh off his Grammy win, can do no wrong in my eyes.
Last night’s episode of SNL was hosted by Maya Rudolph with performances by Sleigh Bells. The best act of the night was a Beyonce/Jay-Z sketch in which celebrities paid their respects to baby Blue Ivy Carter. Angelina tried to kidnap the Blue Ivy to add to her baby collection and an overly-excited Taylor Swift came through saying nothing at all. My fave visitors were Fred Armisen from Portlandia creeping over Ivy’s crib and giving her a creepy one-sided grin and Justin Timberlake putting himself to sleep strumming his canoe-guitar as Bon Iver.
Another great part of the night was a performance by musical duo Sleigh Bells. They also revealed that Jack White will be a musical guest on March 3 with Lindsay Lohan as host. It’ll be an interesting dynamic and I wonder if Lohan will poke fun at her longtime tabloid headlines.
Sadly, Kanye is not on this year’s WTF Grammy list, which has us wondering, is he taming down or saving his energy for something doubly shocking? Only time will tell. In the meantime, there were plenty of bewildering/confusing/awkward moments to tide us over.
1) No one knows who Bon Iver is. Really? This is like last year’s who the f**k is Arcade Fire moment. Bon Iver won best new artist, though he’s not exactly new on the scene. A new Twitter account has been created in recognition, called Who Is Bonnie Bear?
2) Nicki Minaj’s Grammy ensemble made her usual skin-bearing outfits look conservative. Minaj channeled her religious side, donning a red Versace Catholic-inspired robe. She had a Pope look-a-like escort her and later performed an exorcism on herself — not sure how her date felt about that part. We’re comparing this to Lady Gaga’s egg moment of last year.
3) The most ironic moment of the night goes to the Foo Fighter’s walking off the stage to LMFAO’s “Party Rock” after winning best rock performance. Grohl shouted “long live rock ‘n’ roll” as the electro pop song negated their point.
4) Coldplay got slack for his cracking voice. We all thought Adele was the one to worry about, what with her throat surgery and all, but apparently Chris Martin and Rihanna’s performance was not a favourite. Strangely, a Chipotle commercial aired right after the performance, featuring Coldplay’s music, prompting many to say the commercial represented an actual Coldplay performance. I don’t see the big deal! I don’t think his voice was that bad. Just me? Okay.
5) The Beach Boys reunion underwhelmed audiences. I hate to say it, but it kind of felt like a performance for a Florida retirement home. The California boys shared the stage with Maroon 5 and Foster the People. Foster the People has my vote as best of the three, though the band looked scared out of their minds.
The 54th Grammys are on tomorrow night and is hosted by none-other than hip-hop legend LL Cool J – and if you can’t be there, might as well stalk those who are via Twitter.
We pulled together a little list of musicians, music critics, comedians and other accounts that are essential to give an inside look at music’s biggest night. Check them out below:
@AdamLevine: Maroon 5′s frontman and The Voice judge is performing with the freakin’ Beach Boys and Foster The People.
@BlobTower: Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon – a Twitterholic and up for two major awards.
@BrunoMars: He’d catch a grenade for you and he snagged a few nods.
@CoryMonteith: That Canadian dude from Glee tweets as much as sings.
@Deadmau5: Toronto’s DJ with a nod and a performance this weekend.
@Drake: Stay tuned for lonely thoughts at the after parties.
@JustinBieber: An up-and-coming tween sensation that has some potential.
@KanyeWest: He’s up for seven awards and he likes to talk. A lot.
@KatyPerry: She’s performing, up for a few awards – and she’s Katy Perry.
@LadyGaga: Mother Monster is performing, up for a few awards.
@LLCoolJ: Host for the evening; stay tuned for a snapshot or two from behind the scenes.
@TheLonelyIsland: Everyone’s favourite SNL-group headed by Andy Samberg.
@LupeFiasco: Nominated for Best Rap Performance.
@MileyCyrus: She will be in attendance.
@NickiMinaj: She’ll be performing, nods for her collab with Drake and Best New Artist.
@Questlove: The Roots’ drummer that is “your favourite twitterer’s music critic.”
@Rihanna: She likes to Tweet That Tweet – let’s see what she has to say about Chris Brown’s performance.
@Skrillex: 24-year-old producer is up for Best New Artist.
@TaylorSwift13: No doubt this nominee will be Instagraming all night long.
@WizardCud: Kid Cudi might not be as philosophical since quitting weed, but remains vocal.
@ZooeyDeschenel: Fresh from her SNL-hosting gig Saturday, she’ll be all adorkable at the award show.
THE MUSIC CRITICS:
@AlanCross: Canadian music-history icon will keep us confirmed.
@GerrickKennedy: Music writer for the Los Angeles Times likes to tweeter.
@JianGhomeshi: Canadian radio personality loves his music.
@RobSheff: Rolling Stone’s resident music critic – knows a thing or two about the industry.
@RyanSeacrest: This guy is so addicted to hosting things that he’ll likely tweet as if he is hosting the damn show.
@JimmyFallon: The Late Night host that’s a fan of everything – especially music.
@NealBrennan: New York comedian that is worth following year-round.
@RobDelaney: He tweets like breathing – why aren’t you following him already?
@TheGrammys: Pretty self-explanatory
@Fave: One of the official Grammy bloggers.
@KickKickSnare: An official blogger for the Grammys – been snapping a lot of candid pics of the parties thus far.
@RedCarpet: E! Channel’s official red carpet twitter account with photos and commentary for every major red carpet event.
The nominees were announced last night at the Nokia Theatre in L.A. It was a great way to wrap up a stellar year in music. The nominations were followed by a spectacular concert featuring Lady Gaga and Usher.
The awards don’t get handed out until February 12 but if you want to start picking your winners now, here’s a look at the popular nods (those with an * are the one’s I except to see up at the podium):
Record of the Year:
“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele *
“Holocene” – Bon Iver
“Grenade” – Bruno Mars
“The Cave” – Mumford & Sons
“Firework” – Katy Perry
Album of the Year:
“21″ – Adele *
“Wasting Light” – Foo Fighters
“Born This Way” – Lady Gaga
“Doo-Wops & Hooligans” – Bruno Mars
Best New Artist
The Band Perry
Bon Iver *
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Body and Soul” - Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse
“Dearest” - The Black Keys
“Paradise” – Coldplay
“Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People *
“Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera
Best Dance Recording
“Raise Your Weapon” - deadmau5 and Greta Svabo Bech
“Barbra Streisand” – Duck Sauce
“Sunshine” – David Guetta and Avicii
“Call Your Girlfriend” – Robyn *
“Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites” – Skrillex
“Save The World” - Swedish House Mafia
Best Rock Album
“Rock ‘N’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul” – Jeff Beck
“Wasting Light” – Foo Fighters
“Come Around Sundown” – Kings of Leon
“The Whole Love” – Wilco *
“I’m With You” – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Best Rap Album
“Watch the Throne” – Kanye West and Jay-Z *
“Tha Carter IV” - Lil Wayne
“Lasers” – Lupe Fiasco
“Pink Friday” – Nicki Minaj
“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” – Kanye West
Kanye West leads with seven nominations and Adele comes in second place with six. I wouldn’t be surprised if she wins them all! For a look at all the nominees, go to the official Grammy website.
In the spirit of the season, Kanye West resurrected himself at this year’s Coachella festival where he dazzled thousands as they felt the vibe and threw their diamonds in the sky.
Split into three acts, his historical set started off with “Dark Fantasy” from his latest album as he was erected on a crane from the middle of the hyper-charged audience while a few dozen dancers went wild. The set truly showcased the different sides of Yeezy: the ego-maniac, the genius and the emotional mamma’s boy. Between the appearance from Bon Iver and the artistically orchestrated choreography, Kanye proved his showmanship is considerably this generation’s Freddie Mercury in the way that he captivates the crowd’s response.
Rather than the typical hip-hop concert, Kanye turned the show into a concerto. From the imagery to the choreography, the fireworks to the lighting, the show appeared to be a masterpiece of art.
The 90-minute set included a wide assortment of his catalogue, from hits like “Jesus Walks”, “Flashing Lights”, “Runaway”, “Good Life”, “Gold Digger” and “Stronger” ended with a sentimental dedication to his late mother and closed the brilliant set out with “Hey Mama”.